Tag Archives: New York

Ceramics and Pottery by BTW

Want to spice up your meals, sans extra ingredients? Well, this is for you. Embrace the irregular everyday with BWT Ceramics and Pottery created Brooke T. Winfrey. The Brooklyn based company creates a minimal and functional handmade pieces—think dinnerware, speckled mug sand… Continue reading

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Sac du Jour: Moyna Handbags

Think of the classic handbag. Now imagine it made remade with some luxurious fabric and finished with a chic beads and textured embroidered patterns. Enter Moyna Singh’s, handcrafted handbags and scarves embroidered by skilled artisans in India. Beaded or embroidered,… Continue reading

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Trunk Show at the Musuem

Hailing from Benin, Nana Wax offers a wide variety of pieces from accessories to clothing. The brand is inspired by African prints, and brings together unexpected combinations of materials and detailing to create bold, edgy statement pieces. What? Nana Wax… Continue reading

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Four Things… Be My Valentine Edition

We are both ardent defenders of Valentine’s Day. What could be better than an entire day dedicated to celebrating L-O-V-E. Here are some V-Day, Every Day related links to kick off the weekend. Enjoy!         + Send cute,… Continue reading

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Nur-E Farhana Rahman (Knotty Gal)

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We are truly fond of Knotty Gal! Launched last Spring by mother-daughter duo Nur-E Gulshan Rahman and Nur-E Farhana Rahman, this sustainable line of hand-made accessories aims at promoting education amongst young girls in Bangladesh. We recently had a little chat with co-founder Nur-E Farhana Rahman and it went a little something like this…

Tell us a little about yourself, who is Nur-E Farhana Rahman?
I’m the co-founder of Knotty Gal, an accessories business that benefits education for girls in Bangladesh! I was raised by New Jersey, schooled by Washington, DC, and inspired by Bangladesh, but I keep coming back to my true love, New York! In my past life, I was a government contractor and then a consultant, but I left that all behind to follow my dream and start Knotty Gal!

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What is the concept behind your brand Knotty Gal?
Less than a year ago, my mother and I founded Knotty Gal, which produces knotted, handmade necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. My mother and I design the pieces, and she makes them all by hand! We donate a portion of all proceeds to benefit the Bhandari Girls’ School in Bogra, Bangladesh, which my great-grandfather founded back in the 1960’s. The school is located in an impoverished area, and the administration doesn’t want to turn anyone way because of inability to pay, so the student body has swollen to over 1,000 girls! There simply aren’t adequate resources to properly accommodate everyone, so my mother and I decided to start Knotty Gal and help raise funds, and the rest is history!

Growing up, what did you want to be?
When I was younger, I thought for sure I would grow up to become a fashion designer! I had notepads filled with sketches of all my “designs”, and I would fiddle around on my mother’s sewing machine. I still remember I made this awful denim skirt one time, and I thought it was just the coolest thing ever! As I got older, though, I got more interested in international development, so instead of going to FIT or Parsons like I had always thought I would, I decided to go to Georgetown and be in DC instead. Very different path, but it was an incredible one and ultimately, it was that combination of creative desire and passion for international development that lead me to Knotty Gal!

How would you define your personal style? What’s your philosophy or motto?
My personal style is more simple and classic, but always with an unexpected and fun twist. I think that’s why I love accessories so much, especially ours, because they are- in my eyes- all statement pieces. To me, it’s so much fun to wear something like a classic LBD and then pair with a bold necklace, maybe in a bright color, to make what is chic and sophisticated also very modern and fun. That’s just what works for me. At the end of the day, though, fashion always has been and always will be about having fun, and that’s my personal philosophy. If you like it and it makes you feel good, and you’re having fun in it, then wear it!

What / who inspires you?
Wow, that’s a difficult one to answer! For me, inspiration comes in all forms, but when it comes to personal inspiration, I’d have to say the two defining forces in my life would have to be my mother and sister. To me, they are the epitome of strength, and they’ve taught me so much. It is because of them that I am who I am today! As per creative inspiration, that comes undoubtedly from my travels. I’ve been so blessed to be able to see some incredible places, and food, culture, colors, prints, and people all inspire me. Whether it’s Petra or Port-Au-Prince, there’s something I always take away from each place I visit!

What are your biggest accomplishments or proudest moments?
Prior to launching Knotty Gal, I started an online fundraising campaign to raise money for a new computer lab for the Bhandari Girls’ School in Bangladesh. We raised $2500, which was enough to buy ten brand new desktop computers. That was huge for me because it showed that you don’t need tens of thousands of dollars to be able to make a difference, and that a small amount can go a long way. I’ll never forget the feeling of surpassing our target or the feeling of hearing that for many of the girls, it was the first time they had ever even laid eyes on a computer. It was a pivotal moment because it just further fueled my desire to launch something like Knotty Gal.

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What’s playing on your IPod these days?
Oh, it’s a random mix! Recently I’ve been listening to Lorde’s “Pure Heroine”, Drake’s “Nothing Was the Same”, and Justin Timberlake’s “20/20 Experience- Pt. II.” My brother took me to see Pearl Jam recently, so I’ve also been listening to the whole “Ten” album on repeat!

What was the last book you read?
I’m actually reading Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead right now! I am definitely late to the game on starting it, but I think Sheryl Sandberg is basically Super Woman, and I’ve read about a million different reviews of the book, so I’m excited to finish it. Next up on the list, though, is something a little bit more lighthearted- definitely Mindy Kaling’s “Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?” I love Mindy!

What’s next for you and Knotty Gal?
The dream has always been to build something that can make a positive, lasting impact for women and girls. To me, that means not just giving money like we do now by donating a portion of all proceeds, but also creating opportunities for communities to help themselves. My mother currently makes all of our pieces by hand, but the dream is to be able to employ local women artisans in Bangladesh and not just provide them with jobs, but also with leadership training, financial literacy, etc. The ultimate goal is to empower women and girls in a sustainable way that engages the local community and transforms lives for the better. That’s the next step for us!

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An evening with Toubab Paris Jewelry

In New York next week? Swing by Toubab Paris private sale to shop these unusual and scenic accessories! What? ‘Toubab paris’s private sale Where? Babel Fair, 260 Elizabeth Street, NY – NY 10012 (France) When? Thursday June 13 from 6:00… Continue reading

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Yolanda Sangweni

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I first met Yolanda a few years ago when I was interning at Trace Magazine and I was immediately struck by her flyness, her wit and overall dopeness. Born in South Africa, this mother of two who is now Entertainment Editor at ESSENCE.com, was chosed by Forbes as one of the 20 Young Power Women in Africa last year.
We had a chat with her and it went a little something like this.

Tell us a little a bit about yourself, who is Yolanda Sangweni?
I am a South African-born, Brooklyn residing mom, wife, daughter and lover of all things amazing. By day I work as an editor at Essence.com (the online component to Essence Magazine) and run AfriPOP! I’m also a singer and songwriter on the come up.

Growing up, what did you want to be?
I always wanted to be a teacher, until I read Toni Morrison’s novel “Beloved” in high school. I even went to Howard University to follow in her footsteps – LOL! The book totally changed my life and perspective on how Black girls could tell our stores. I remember thinking, ‘I want to write stories like this.’ I never followed the novelist path, but I did end up becoming a journalist – still writing stories, just not fiction.

What is the idea behind AfriPOP, the webzine you founded?
I’m an African who spent a large majority of my life outside the continent. Growing up in Harlem, the only images we had of Africa were the usual horrible ones. When I went back home to South Africa at 20 years old it was like a reintroduction to the magnificence of our people, and continent. I started AfriPOP as a way to celebrate that beauty, drive and sheer dopeness that I saw of the young people of Africa. I like to say that I want it to be as if I am holding up a mirror to remind us just how dope we are as a people.

As an artist, a singer, what inspires you?
I am inspired by the experience of living in New York and feeling like an outsider. And then living in, say, Johannesburg and still feeling like an outsider. I remember Toni Morrison, again, being one of the first people to introduce me to the idea of being a liminal being – a person equally existing between two worlds, home and host. I guess these days we call ourselves Afropolitans. Many of my songs are rooted in this idea of co-existing in these two worlds –the immigrant experience, basically.

What’s your work philosophy or motto?
Do what pleases your heart. Since I’ve been an adult (never mind the under-the-table jobs one has to take when one has no papers in America) I’ve never worked a job that didn’t make me happy. I’m naturally an inquisitive person so journalism and being an editor was right up my alley.

How would you define your personal style?
Bohemian? I’m not sure, but I think that’s the closest.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement?
Besides raising my sons (with my husband), I think nurturing my dreams has been my greatest achievement. The universe has conspired with me on many an occasion and it feels great.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I’m not telling. *wink*

What was the last book you read?
The Zahir by Paula Coehlo.

Lastly what is playing on your IPod these days?
Kendrick, Laura Mvula, Dizu Platjies, and Alice Smith.

Classics!

HOLST+LEE recently launched a new collection called CLASSICS  which features this stunning series bracelets. The New-York designing duo and their line of hand-made bold & beautiful accessories have been under our radar for a while and we’re always eager to… Continue reading

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Crew Sketches

Brooklyn based designer and art director Darien Birk‘s bold character sketches combine vector drawings with playful colour combinations for an eye-catching design. SOURCE

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